by Zazen

Ok, here it is, by popular demand, the key, the secret, the way to consistently kill at high deflection in an Ostwind. I write this for one reason and one reason only: to make vulching, which is just spawn camping planes with planes, as unpleasant an experience as possible and totally non-viable as a method to pad fighter scores.

There are a few things to note. First, always park your Ostwind on concrete somewhere. Second, always have your clipboard open and your mouse cursor on the Tower button so you can end mission quickly if you hear ordnance about to plop on your head. Third, learn where to park your Ostwind. In AH2 there are two main places to park it: near, but not too near, the Fighter Hangers, and near the tower on a small field or near the nexus of runways at a medium or large field for vulcher slaying. In some situations you may not want to park at all, such as when there are no friendly aircraft to amuse the vulchers, in this situation go up and down the runways in 5th gear maintaining a straight line path to make compensating for your own movement as easy as possible.

As far as aiming goes, the core principle is rather simple, some may have already heard me state it. Always fire fully zoomed in. While fully zoomed in, a target traveling roughly parallel or perpendicular to the ground at a range of 1k will be hit if kept exactly at the edge of your screen. Therefore a target 500 away should be kept halfway from the edge of your screen to your crosshair. This is the basis for all shots. Now off angle shots you must judge by the aircraft's attitude, speed and size as to how much extra or less to lead it relative to the base amount, always leading in the direction of the target plane's nose. Always lead your target slightly more than you think you should and slightly above to allow for shell drop, and keep your turret swivel motion as smooth and fluid as possible. On large targets and slower than average targets lead a little less, on small and fast targets lead a little more.

Another thing to realize, while an Ostwind shell can technically kill at distances approaching 3k, never ever fire over 1.5k for one simple reason. The smoothing code or whatever does an adjustment at 1.5k; you will notice a small burp or hiccup in the planes position so at distances over 1.5k you are not actually seeing the plane where it really is. You'll notice this effect on bombers, it is especially pronounced with the drones in a formation. I almost never shoot beyond 1.2k on anything that isn't just coming directly at or away from me. The 1k distance is really where you want to be firing; it's the key to accurate deflection shooting in the Ostwind.

To sum this up really simply:

  • 1k away = target at the edge of your visible screen.
  • 750 away = target is 3/4s of the distance from crosshair to edge.
  • 500 away = halfway from your crosshair to the edge of screen.
  • 250 away = 1/4 the distance from your crosshair to the edge.

    This only works if you are Fully Zoomed in! (of course you do your scanning un-zoomed). Only fire fully zoomed in, there is no reason to fire partially zoomed in. I have experimented with this at various resolutions. There is no difference between where the shell goes relative to the centerline position fully zoomed in or fully zoomed out, however at some resolutions there is a difference if only partially zoomed in. My guide only works if you are fully zoomed in when firing. I've tried it at everything from 800X600 to 1600X1200 on a 17" screen to a 21" screen it works the same. If there is any difference it's so small as to be within the shell's trajectory margin of variability and irrelevant. I also recommend being fully Page-Up'd by default.

    One thing to realize when shooting is there is a fairly large 'spread'. The key to hitting any target, but especially those heading generally toward and away from you is to lead their nose not where the plane appears to be. This is especially true on planes heading away from you as your shell takes quite some time to get there relatively speaking. So, in your example where he just flew over you and is heading away if he is shallow diving to deck lead below him, but if he's shallow climbing lead above him. You judge by how much by watching his nose attitude and the distance, the further away the more lead to compensate for the shell drop.

    The shell drop to targets up to 1k away is fairly insignificant, over that distance it becomes increasingly and incrementally more significant. The amount the shell drops under 1k is smaller than the variability of the 'spread' to you can aim a hair above but not more if you want but usually you don't need to.

    The faster the plane is going the more you have to lead relative to the base amount. A bandit going 500mph but 800 away you will have to have him about on the edge of the screen as if he were going 300'ish but 1k away. Conversely, a bandit going only 200 mph but 1k away you only need to lead him 3/4 of the way to the edge. It's something you have to get a feel for, but as I stated in the original post, smaller and/or faster targets lead more than the base amount, slower and/or large targets lead less. My formula in the original post is based on an average plane like the P51 going an average speed of 325'ish.

    The Field gun is EXACTLY the same in every way to the Ostwind as far as aiming is concerned. The only differences are:

    1) The field gun seems to be more accurate, has less spread and slightly longer effective range. This is probably due to a significantly longer barrel and being in a fixed position as opposed to a less stable vehicle platform.

    2) The field gun has a slightly slower rate of fire, this means a target is more likely to, "Thread the needle", between your stream even if your lead is perfect.

    3) The field gun has better 360 degree visibility as there is no tank chassis and turret housing to obstruct your view. So, it is much easier to maintain situational awareness, as it were, in a field gun.

    4) Obviously the field gun is much easier to kill, a single cannon round even close to a field gun will blow it, but then again you can't 'die' in a field gun either...

    As far as aiming as illustrated in my original post there is absolutely no difference. If you are good in an Ostwind you will be good in a field gun and vice versa, it's the same 37mm cannon.

    Hope this helps! Death to vulchers!